Eight components of a design theory of sonification
Nees, Michael A.
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Despite over 25 years of intensive work in the field, sonification research and practice continue to be hindered by a lack of theory. In part, sonification theory has languished, because the requirements of a theory of sonification have not been clearly articulated. As a design science, sonification deals with artifacts- artificially created sounds and the tools for creating the sounds. Design fields require theoretical approaches that are different from theory-building in natural sciences. Gregor and Jones  described eight general components of design theories: (1) purposes and scope; (2) constructs; (3) principles of form and function; (4) artifact mutability; (5) testable propositions; (6) justificatory knowledge; (7) principles of implementation; and (8) expository instantiations. In this position paper, I examine these components as they relate to the field of sonification and use these components to clarify requirements for a theory of sonification. The current status of theory in sonification is assessed as it relates to each component, and, where possible, recommendations are offered for practices that can advance theory and theoretically-motivated research and practice in the field of sonification.